Children with Down syndrome (DS) are recommended to undergo polysomnography (PSG) by the age of four years due to the high prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in this group, but compliance is incomplete. To further understand referral patterns for PSG in this condition, we aimed to compare demographics, PSG results, OSA severity, behavior, daytime functioning and quality of life (QOL) between children with DS referred for sleep testing and those recruited from the community.
Children 3-19 years with DS was included: 20 referred clinically for assessment of OSA and 24 volunteers from the community. Demographic and anthropometric data, PSG parameters, sleep-related symptoms and QOL, behavior and daytime functioning were compared between groups.
OSA severity did not differ between groups: 50% of the clinical and 42% of the community group had moderate/severe OSA. The clinical group had a higher weight z-score, BMI z-score, waist and hip circumference and neck-to-waist ratio. Questionnaire scores for daytime functioning, behavior and QOL were not different between groups.
Despite not being referred for clinical sleep assessment, 42% of children with DS recruited from the community had moderate/severe OSA. There was no difference in the QOL, behavior, daytime functioning and sleep symptoms questionnaires although the clinical group had a higher BMI-Z score and overt signs of obesity. These findings underscore the importance of PSG screening of all children with DS.

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